Hello everyone! My name is Dione, but most of the time I go by Dee. I am a graduate student at the University of California, Santa Cruz where I study the science of clouds. I became concerned with environmental issues at a very young age, when I learned about endangered species and ocean pollution in elementary school. One year, my parents allowed me to buy one book at my school's book fair. I chose 50 Simple Things Kids Can do to Save the Earth. This book changed my life! I followed the advice and instructions I found in this book and tried to spread the word to my family and friends. Although I loved to learn about how I could help the environment, at that time, it was only just a hobby.
In high school, I fell in love with physics and continued taking lots of physics classes in college. One day, I learned about a major my school offered called Earth and Planetary Science (EPS). In this major, I could use my math and physics classes to learn more about the earth. Once I started taking EPS classes, I realized I had a very strong interest in learning about the atmosphere. I never thought the passion had about the environment had any relevance to my education… and boy, was I wrong! I began learning all about the science of global warming, the ozone hole, and air pollution. Now I could use my scientific understanding of these issues along with the guidance I received from my childhood book.
I received a degree in EPS at University of California, Berkeley, with an emphasis in Atmospheric Science. By that time, I had already spent one summer doing physics research at the University of Colorado, two semesters of atmospheric chemistry research at Berkeley, and two more summers doing research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder. At NCAR, I was a member of the Significant Opportunities for Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) program. This program seeks to involve more students from groups that are historically under-represented in the sciences.
After college, I decided it was time to spread my passion for the both the environment and the sciences. I became a science teacher at the Lawrence Hall of Science and taught preschool through high school students about everything from the chemistry of food to the biology of a squid to the physics of slimy things! I was even given the opportunity to develop and teach a class entitled “Active Atmosphere.”
I was having a blast but soon I was ready to move forward into graduate school. I chose to go to UCSC, because I would be able to continue learning about the atmosphere, not just in the classroom, but out in the field as well. I currently study cloud microphysics (the physics of tiny things) using a new instrument called the Phase Doppler Interferometer (PDI). Clouds are so important to the atmosphere; we are trying to understand as much as we can about the relationship between clouds and climate.
I still have the desire to spread my passion for both the environment and science, and I look forward to doing that by writing all about my field experiences in Chile. Enjoy!